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What happens to my student loans if I die or become disabled?

If you meet certain requirements, your federal student loans may be canceled if you become disabled or pass away. Private student loans, however, have different provisions.

In the horrible event that you become totally and permanently disabled or pass away, your student loans may be canceled or discharged. However, the requirements vary depending on whether the loans are federal or private.

Federal student loans

You may qualify for student loan discharge, relieving you from having to repay the remainder of your loan, if you meet the Department of Education’s requirements for being totally and permanently disabled. If you are approved for total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge through Social Security Administration documentation or a medical professional’s certification, you will be subject to a three-year post-discharge monitoring period .

If you have federal student loans and pass away, the loans won’t transfer to another person. Relatives can notify the loan servicer, and the loan will be canceled.

Private student loans

Unlike federal student loans, private student lenders are not legally required to cancel private student loans for borrowers who die or become disabled. Because of this, in some instances, private student loan debt may pass on to a spouse or cosigner of the loan.

In certain cases, private lenders have special provisions to discharge loans, but it’s important to check the terms and conditions of your loan or contact your servicer for more details.

Learn more about repaying student debt